|Ong Bak 2|
|Directed by||Tony Jaa
|Produced by||Prachya Pinkaew
|Music by||Terdsak Janpan|
|Editing by||Nonthakorn Thaweesuk
|Distributed by||Sahamongkol Film International|
|Release date(s)||5 December 2008
October 23, 2009 (USA)
October 16, 2009 (UK)
|Running time||93 minutes|
|Gross revenue||$8,868,786 |
|Preceded by||Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior|
|Followed by||Ong Bak 3|
Ong Bak 2 (องค์บาก 2) is a 2008 Thai martial arts film co-directed by and starring Tony Jaa. It is a follow-up to Jaa's 2003 breakout film Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior. Initially claimed to be a sequel to Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior, Ong Bak 2 was then announced to be a prequel to its predecessor. Unlike its predecessor however, which had a contemporary and realistic setting, Ong Bak 2 is actually set in ancient Thailand and as such, could be described as a historical epic with elements of fantasy combined, and has nothing to do with Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior. Ong Bak 2 also has nothing to do with Jaa's 2005 film Tom-Yum-Goong, which was sometimes incorrectly labelled Ong Bak 2 in the West, as well as The Protector and The Warrior King. Tom-Yum-Goong had a contemporary setting similar to Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior, although it too had different characters and plot. Jaa's films have yet to tie into each other, although Jaa has claimed they will do so with the release of Ong Bak 3 in 2010. As well as the different historical setting to Jaa's previous films, Ong Bak 2 has taken a notably grittier and bloodier direction.
The plot of Ong Bak 2 revolves around Tien (Jaa), the son of Lord Sihadecho, a murdered nobleman in ancient Thailand. As a spirited and unyielding youth, Tien resists savage slave traders and, moments from death, is rescued by a man known as Cher Nung. Cher Nung is a renowned warrior and leader of the Pha Beek Krut, a group of pirates/guerilla fighters, and Cher Nung realizes unsurpassed physical potential in the young Tien and takes Tien under his wing. The Pha Beek Krut are a group of expert martial artists of various styles from all over Asia, and Tien is trained to unify these different styles of martial arts, and grows into the most dangerous man alive. As Tien becomes a young man he goes on a lone mission of vengeance against the vicious slave traders who enslaved him as a youth, and also the treacherous warlord who murdered his father, Lord Rajasena, who has an entire army protecting him.
The film begins in the year 1974 of the Buddhist calendar (which corresponds to 1421 in the Gregorian calendar), in feudal Thailand. It is a time of political upheaval, treachery and danger. The opening scene explains how during the reign of Boromarajatiraj II of the Ayutthaya Kingdom, the Ayuthaya royal court became more powerful than the Sukhothai kingdom and expanded to the east. The Ayuthaya army sieged the Kingdom of Gods for several months. The king sent his son, Prince Indraracha to rule the kingdom. At the new kingdom, Lord Sihadecho is a provincial ruler, and a gallant and noble warrior of a formally great dynasty. His son, Tien, a spirited and unyielding youth, aspires to be just like his father, but is forced to undergo dance lessons instead much to his disdain. Meanwhile, the treacherous and power-craving Lord Rajasena, a former city administrator of the capital city, plots to seize total control of all Asia and has amassed the greatest army in Asia. Rajasena sends out vicious assassins to murder Lord Sihadecho's family and his loyal soldiers. The only survivor from this massacre is Tien, who manages to escape with deep vengeance in his heart, and becomes a wild and feral child.
Tien is captured by a group of savage slave traders, who throw him into a pit with a giant crocodile when he proves uncontrollable. Tien is saved by Cher Nung (Sorapong Chatree), leader of the renowned “Pha Beek Krut” guerilla group, who attack the slave traders. Cher Nung throws a knife to Tien, proclaiming "your life depends on you, young boy", with which Tien kills the crocodile. Intrigued by his physical prowess and attitude, Cher Nung takes Tien to a soothsayer, who says the boy has a great destiny, that "spirits will fear him" and that he will become the greatest warrior who will ever live, and as such Cher Nung takes in Tien as his adoptive son and raises him like himself as a guerilla and a bandit. Tien gets his wish to train as a warrior and more besides, growing up to excel in all kinds of martial arts and war strategies including man-to-man fighting, boxing, incantation,Ninjutsu(subterfuge explosives stealth and speed). Tien utilizes a variety of traditional martial arts styles, including Thai Muay Boran, Japanese Kenjutsu, Indonesian Harimau Silat, Chinese Zuiquan, Wing Chun and Hung Ga kung fu styles, as well as Chinese swordplay. His weapons include a Ninjatō, katana, jian, dao (sword), kilij, talwar, nunchaku, rope dart, and three-section staff.
Now a young man and with all these forms of martial arts heavily instilled, becoming the greatest warrior to ever live, Tien (Tony Jaa) is eager to quench the vengeance in his heart by killing the slave traders, which he does. He then goes on to kill Lord Rajasena by posing as a dancer during a celebration. Returning to the Pha Beek Krut, Tien is mystified to find their village deserted. Suddenly, he finds himself confronted by wave after wave of masked assassins(ninjas), the same ones hired by Lord Rajasena to destroy his original home. As the fight progresses Tien is too enraged to notice that the masked villains(Ninjas) are none other than his Pha Beek Krut comrades though their individual combat styles are glaringly recognizable. At last confronting their leader, Tien finds they have been surrounded by Rajasena's army, which is led by the tyrant, himself. Lord Rajasena reveals he had survived thanks to an armored tunic concealed beneath his state robes. Cher Nung unmasks and admits to his part in killing Lord Sihadecho's, as he was in league with Rajasena. Cher Nung explains that he must carry out Rajasena's orders, or his family will be killed. As Tien defeats Cher Nung, Cher Nung once again calls Tien his son and asks to him to avenge his father's death by finishing him off, which in anguish Tien does.
The film ends on a cliffhanger with Tien, after defeating hundreds of Rajasena's warriors, being finally overwhelmed by hundreds more. Rajasena orders Tien to be taken away to be slowly tortured to death. It is unclear whether Tien survives, and if he does, how it is so. An extremely ambiguous and vague voice-over explains that Tien "may find a way to cheat death again", and Tien is shown with a fully-grown beard (which he doesn't have in the film) standing in front of a scarred golden Buddha statue, perhaps indicating reincarnation,some say Tien is Ong Bak himself or some other mystical solution. Nevertheless, the story is set to be resolved and continued in the sequel Ong Bak 3.
Shooting of the film began in October 2006. It was released in Thailand on December 5, 2008. In July 2008, rumor surfaced that Tony Jaa has disappeared from the production set. Prachya Pinkaew commented to the press that Tony Jaa had disappeared from the set for almost two months, leaving the film unfinished, and that the delay has caused more than 250 million baht damage due to the breach of contract with the Weinstein Company who also has canceled the contract. Later in an interview with the press, Tony Jaa stated that the production was on hiatus because Sahamongkol Film could not release the obligated funding for the film. Source within Ayara Film, the subsidiary of Sahamongkol Film that handles Ong Bak 2 production stated that no more funding came from Sahamongkol after it took over budget and management role from Tony Jaa since May 2008 to July 2008. 
Tony Jaa and the owner of Sahamongkol Film had later made a joint press conference stating that the production and funding would continue after several concessions have been agreed upon between Tony Jaa and Sahamongkol. Famed Thai action choreographer and Jaa's mentor Panna Rittikrai was brought onto the project in the capacity of director to help complete the film. In addition, Rittikrai added martial artist Dan Chupong to the cast.
An international trailer for the movie was released during filming, showing the fictional fantasy setting and in which Tony Jaa's character is shown being rescued in the jungle by a group of martial artists of various styles, and trained to unify these different styles of martial arts. However, production still encountered financial problems as it came to a close. In order to complete the production on time, the filmmakers decided to end Ong Bak 2 with a cliffhanger ending, and then continue the story in a sequel, Ong Bak 3, which has been announced to begin production shortly for a 2009 release.
Worldwide distribution and sales rights to Ong Bak 2 were purchased by The Weinstein Company in March 2006. A little over a year later, Harvey Weinstein visited Bangkok and renegotiated a deal in which Sahamongkol Film International bought back most of the rights to the film, except for North America, which The Weinstein Company retains. At the 2007 Cannes Film Festival market, Sahamongkol sold some rights to Germany-based Splendid Films.
On 10 February 2009, it was announced that the Wagner/Cuban Companies’ Magnolia Pictures acquired the U.S. distribution rights for Ong-Bak 2 under their Magnet label. The deal was negotiated by Tom Quinn, Senior Vice President of Magnolia, with Gilbert Lim of Sahamongkol Film International.
The film currently holds a 48% 'Rotten' rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 52 reviews.
Despite political turmoil in the film's native Thailand, in its opening weekend (8 December 2008) Ong Bak 2 has grossed about 28 million baht ($2.06 million), according to Variety Asia Online, and was number one at the Thai box office. Ong Bak 2 did better at the Thai box office than Tony Jaa's previous film, Tom-Yum-Goong.
There have been numerous DVD releases of Ong Bak 2. Various versions with regional subtitles and dubbings were released throughout Asia, South America, Australia and New Zealand in the months shortly after the film's premiere in its native Thailand. The film was released for the European Film Market on 6 February 2009. The official release date of the DVD in the United States has been set at February 2, 2010 , although it is already available in English language version. A bootleg all-region-compatible version with English subtitles of Ong-Bak 2 was internationally released April 2, 2009 on DVD, although this version is as yet widely unavailable. There are no significant reviews, such as on Rotten Tomatoes, as of yet.
With the box office success of Ong Bak 2, Sahamongkol Film International was quick to announce their intention to film its sequel. Filming of new footage for the follow-up will begin before the end of the year and will also incorporate unused footage from Ong Bak 2. Kongdej Jaturanrasamee, screenwriter of the Thai fantasy film Queens of Langkasuka, has been signed to write the script. In addition, the expensive set for the Khmer Palace has already been completed and seen by the press. The studio hopes to have the film in theaters in late 2009.
Sia Jieang, an Executive of Sahamongkol, stated the film will feature more fights between Tony Jaa and Dan Chupong (the uncredited actor behind the mysterious, enigmatic and deadly "crow ghost" in Ong Bak 2, the only enemy who really gets the drop on Tien in the film).
Moreover, in Ong Bak 3 Tien's legs and arms will be damaged by torture and require Jaa's character to "fight with some sort of boneless action. This is homework for Panna Rittikrai and Tony Jaa to create the action for us to see what it will look like to fight in the state of boneless condition."